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Why I Decided to Speak Up
C. David Moody, Jr.
I always knew I had to do something to help other survivors, the problem, I didn’t know what to do. One thing about suffering in silence, you really do suffer in silence. I didn’t have many discussions with anyone about what else could I do to help other survivors.
I really talked a lot to myself and I talked to God for guidance. I was also scared about speaking up. At the time I had no fellow male survivor to talk to, so I struggled on my own to find a way to help. Before 2011 when I decided to speak up publicly, I avoided anything that talked about childhood sexual abuse, i wouldn’t donate, or acknowledged anything that had to do with childhood sexual abuse.
So you can see from 1992 to 2011, I was still in denial. I only admitted what happened to me enough to understand the panic attacks, PTSD and heal enough where I didn’t have to dig deep into my childhood.
Deciding to speak up to the world requires that I dig deep into a place I still wanted to avoid.
There was a time between 1992 and 2004, I wandered was God telling me to be a minister. Everything God was telling me was I would not be in the pulpit but God had a ministry for me. The saying it is not in our time but God’s time is true for me.
For some reason I finally got the nerve to go visit the Georgia Center For Child Advocacy. Of course Karla my safety blanket went with me.
As I drove to the center, I was nervous and talkative trying to hide my fear. Inside my head this was my conversation. David this is no big deal, nothing to be scared about, you 55 years old, grown man and no pedophile could hurt me anymore.
Here the thing to understand, when you suffer from PTSD and anything that makes you relive the events, take you right back to the age you were when the events happens. So I am 55 year old man having a discussion with my 9 year old self going to visit GCFCA in 2011.
Karla and I walk into the lobby of GCFCA and waited for the Executive Director Nancy Chandler. She thought I was a state senator Moody and when she saw me she said you aren’t the senator and I said no I am not. I thought maybe this is a sign for me not to take a tour. So I said if you are expecting someone else, I can reschedule and before I could leave she said no, let’s take the tour.
I grabbed Karla’s hand tightly and pretended I was ok, but inside I was a nervous wreck. I was walking in a center that helps kids of childhood sexual abuse. We walked the center, and I couldn’t believe everything I saw. the nice rooms for the kids. the interview rooms and all of the counselors. It was at the moment I knew that Child hood sexual abuse was bigger than I realized and I was not alone.
The tour went great and the three of us went to the board room to talk about the tour. I set at the table and spoke about how impressed I was and all of a sudden, the tears came flooding out of my eyes. I was that 9 year old kid, traumatized by being sexual abused by a male baby sitter. Karla just hugged me as I laid my head on the table to just cry. The executive director Nancy Chandler, quietly waiting for me to gather myself. It was obvious she had years of experience because she made me feel at peace.
It was that moment I knew my mission. It was to become a champion for the survivors of childhood sexual abuse. I didn’t know what it would be but I knew it would be shown to me.
Some months later I was to speak for the first time in public as the keynote speaker the fundraising breakfast for GCFCA. This was a major breakfast and many people I knew would be attending and they would hear me speak publicly for the first time about my childhood of being a sexual abuse survivor.
I had some close friends attending and I was confident this would be ok because I had spoken so much in public about other topics and this would be no different than the past.
Karla and I arrived at the breakfast and it was a good crowd. I hope you notice a common theme, Karla is always by my side. One thing I think that is important on a journey of healing is having someone that loves you and has your back 100% to help you on this journey. Because you will have times of fear, doubt, tears and want to quit. Karla, has held me when needed, listen when needed and kicked me in my butt to keep going when needed.
Back to the breakfast. They had a few presentation before I spoke and to hear the statistics about childhood sexual abuse and all the things the center did to help kids had me inspired to help. It also had me nervous about my speech. I had written out my key points to touch. I was introduced and I walked up to to the stage and podium. I looked out into the crowd, took a deep deep breath and began to speak, I got maybe 5 minutes in and the tears came flooding again. I gave my speech and cried the entire way. I had tears of releasing and sadness. I was sad that someone has to even give a speech about childhood sexual abuse and the tears of releasing was for the releasing of hiding my past was no longer necessary.
Of course I was drained after the speech. People wanted to speak with me afterwards and I was a gracious speaker, I stuck around but I wanted to run away and just rest and unwind. I was feeling a ll kinds of feelings after the speech. I was happy, sad, free, embarrassed and still wondering is this my calling because I can’t keep crying every time I speak or write about this journey. ( I am pleased to say each time I speak or write I have gotten stronger and haven't cried in a few years speaking about he journey. In fact I feel stronger and freer than ever before, it is like have my eyes see clear than every before in my life).
Another important event that made me speak up was the Jerry Sandusky's Penn state scandal. That event pissed me off something fierce. Over the years I have heard some horrible things about sexual abuse and kids, but for some reason this one help push me to speak. All I kept thinking about was how could all of those adults leave those kids in his Jerry’s hands. I thought how proud I was of the kids that spoke up and I was also sad because it made me think about how I didn’t say a word for decades and never pressed charges on my abuser. I knew I had to find a way to help other survivors. Something has to be done.
In October 2012 I decided to start a blog on my journey in business to celebrate my 25 years in business. I realized I would not be telling the accurate story if I didn’t tell how in 1992 my life fell a apart and why it fell apart. This is how moodyspeaks.com was born. From that I have been featured in many written articles, interviews, training films and a prime time documentary called breaking the silence on my journey of healing from childhood sexual abuse.
In January 2015 I enrolled at Harvard in their Advanced Leadership Initiative program. it is a program for leaders who in the second half of life want to make a difference in the world. This program and my fellow classmates help realize we can make difference in the world.
This program is where the blog turned into a website, with resources for survivors and other survivors stories to inspire other survivors and give the writers a chance to share their story to help others heal.
Developing this project I decided instead of creating a foundation to have to ask people for money. i decided to design some apparel with some sayings I developed while on this journey of healing and write this book on my journey. A portion of Profits from the sell of the apparel and book will go to help agencies and organizations that help childhood sexual abuse survivors.
I have come a long way since I was sexually abused in 1965, I have met some great survivors and I feel stronger from knowing them and the people that help survivors.
I don’t know where my journey will take me or how much my project will help other survivors, but so far the positive feedback makes sharing my story worth the tears I have shed.
I just want to know I made a difference in helping someone find hope that was hopeless and give a voice to the voiceless, and show we not only survive but we can thrive and do some incredible things in our lives.